Sunday 26 October 2014

Turkish PM raps UN Security Council

Published 13/10/2012 | 12:27

Abdelbaset Sieda, head of the Syrian National Council, right, and German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle at the forum in Istanbul, Turkey (AP)

Turkey's prime minister has sharply criticised the UN Security Council for its failure to agree on decisive steps to end the 19-month civil war in Syria.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan told an international conference in Istanbul that the world was witnessing a "humanitarian tragedy" in Syria.

"If we wait for one or two of the permanent members ... then the future of Syria will be in danger," said Mr Erdogan, according to an official translator.

Russia and China - two of the five permanent members of the Security Council - have vetoed resolutions that sought to put concerted pressure on Damascus to end the conflict and agree to a political transition.

Mr Erdogan called for a reform of the Security Council, which he called an "unequal, unfair system" that did not represent the will of most countries.

He spoke as Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu was meeting with Arab and European leaders amid growing tensions between Turkey and its southern neighbour Syria. Mr Davutoglu held talks with Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby and was due to meet later with German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle and the UN's envoy on Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.

On Wednesday, Turkey intercepted a Syrian passenger plane en route from Moscow to Damascus and seized what it said was military equipment on board. Syria denounced the move as air piracy, while Russia said the cargo was radar parts that complied with international law.

Syria's state-run news agency reported that Damascus supported a proposal by Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to find a "mechanism of direct security communication between Syria and Turkey".

SANA reported that Syrian government officials and Russia's ambassador in Damascus discussed ways to establish a joint Syrian-Turkish security committee that would "control the security situation on both sides of the border in the framework of respecting the national sovereignty of the two countries".

Turkey has made no comment on the proposal, and it is unclear whether Moscow has presented it to the Turkish government yet.

Press Association

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